Frederic Remington Early Life

Artist Frederic Remington is one of the legendary names in the art universe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. His stunning portrayal of the American West, adventurous cowboys, Native Americans, and rugged landscapes enticed viewers in the day and even today.

Many art enthusiasts are fascinated by Frederic Remington and are intrigued by how he grew up in upstate New York. Born in Canton in New York on 4th October 1861, Remington was a son to Seth Pierrepont Remington and Clarissa Bascom Sackrider. His father was a Civil War hero who fought at the Battle of Gettysburg and later became a successful businessman. Remington’s mother was a schoolteacher, and she was the one who encouraged Remington’s interest in drawing and painting from a tender age.

Let’s dive in to learn more about Frederic Remington artists early life.

Remington’s Childhood

Frederic Remington was an active and adventurous child who enjoyed exploring the woods and fields around Canton. This was probably how he fell in love with nature and started appreciating its pristine beauty of nature. At the same time, Remington was known to be a mischievous lad and ended up getting expelled from a boarding school once. He was involved in a prank that involved a cow.

However, no one can say otherwise about him being a talented artist even when he was of tender age— he was a natural. It’s interesting to note that during that time as well, he used to draw and sketch, taking inspiration from the wildlife and landscape he saw during his outdoor activities. This innate talent, dedication, and passion made his parents enroll him in art classes with local teachers.

During his adolescence, he became an expert marksman and hunter and grew fascinated with horses. However, his love for nature didn’t fade a bit. Both these aspects came in quite handy when he started to paint a list of famous American West paintings.

When Frederic Remington was 19 years old, he enrolled at the Yale School of Art, where he was lucky to study under a famous landscape artist John Henry Niemeyer. However, his academic life was short-lived as he dropped out within a semester of enrolment. After this, he started working as a reporter for the New York Daily Graphic.

Remington’s Travel

Famous Frederic Remington took his first trip out West in 1883 with his friend. While it was a hunting trip to Montana, he was mesmerized by the rugged beauty of the landscape and splendor of the West. It was then he started to sketch and paint his surroundings, leaving everyone who saw his paintings in awe.

This trip only expanded to the next few years when Remington traveled extensively throughout the West. In addition, he often traveled on his own, and while doing so, he spent time with cowboys, Native Americans, and many other individuals at the frontier. This gave him a ton of themes to paint artworks focused on the American West.

Remington’s Work at Harper’s Weekly

In 1882 Frederic Remington was an illustrator who primarily depicted the image of the American West. His highly realistic and detailed illustrations focused on the cowboys, Native Americans, and the U.S. Cavalry. One aspect that made his illustrations stand out was his attention to detail.

‘The Stampede’ was one of the most popular illustrations by Frederic Remington for Harper’s Weekly. Created in 1889, the dramatic illustration shows a group of cowboys on horses trying to control a herd of cattle. Besides the details of the main subjects, Remington meticulously illustrated each ripple and wave in the river. It was this time that helped romanticize American West life.

Remington’s Early Paintings

An Indian War Party

Completed in 1882, ‘An Indian War Party’ shows a group of Native American warriors on their horsebacks on rugged hills and plains. You can see that the warriors have their weapons that are clearly depicted in the masterpiece.

Moreover, the sky is of a hazy blue hue contrasting the green and brown shades of the landscape. As you view the artwork, you cannot help but feel that the spirit of the Native American is always frozen. Everything in the painting is done meticulously, focusing on each and every detail of intricate patterns and colors.

The Scout: Friends or Foes

‘The Scout: Friends or Foes’ is yet another early painting by Frederic Remington that shows the essence of the American West. A lone cowboy is the main subject of the painting and is armed with a rile atop a rocky outcropping. On the far horizon, there is a group of Native Americans.

This artwork is an impactful representation of the tension between settlers and Native Americans during the Western expansions. In addition, the artwork is remarkable evidence to show the artist’s artistic talent that has the audience in awe and wonder.


Overall, Remington’s early paintings demonstrate his skill as an artist and his deep fascination with the American West. They helped to establish his reputation as one of the foremost painters of the West and set the stage for his later work as an illustrator and sculptor.